Deployed On: Dec 14, 2011
First to Capture: baax
Last Capture: May 17, 2013
Number of Captures: 15
Decimal: 43.38132 -80.39301
Degrees: 43° 22.879 -80° 23.581
Built by Allan Bowman in 1876, the Sheave Tower, 31 feet tall, was considered to be the oldest hydro-generating system in Ontario. The board-and-batten structure with pointed gothic windows is located in a stand of cedar, bass and maple trees on Old Mill Road outside the Village of Blair, Ontario.
The late Nick Hill, an heritage architect, described the Sheave Tower as “absolutely magical...a jewel in the midst of a beautiful wetland.” Water from Blair Creek ran through the sluice and turned a vertical turbine shaped like a corkscrew. A series of shafts and gears spun a giant pulley mounted high outside the tower by the steep-pitched roof. A long cable was looped from the tower’s pulley to another pulley 70 metres away at the Blair Mill. The Sheave Tower produced an additional 15 horsepower for the Blair Mill, which once ground corn for Schneider’s pea meal bacon.
Heritage Cambridge restored the Sheave Tower in 1999 as a passive display without moving mechanical parts, and returned the medieval-looking tower to its original oxblood colour. Marriage proposals have been made within its walls! Fishermen, artists and photographers continue to be drawn to it.
The old mill across the road is still in operation to this day, and Blair Creek rushes by the restored but silent sheave tower on its way to the nearby Grand River.